Jerusalem Journey -- By: Debra Kreider
BSpade 22:1 (Winter 2009) p. 29
I can say my first trip to Jerusalem began on October 20, 2007, the moment I heard it announced at ABR’s Biblical Archaeology Conference in Pennsylvania. I was excited to be able to sift i rubble from the Temple Mount, and looked at the rest of the trip as an added bonus. This was my first trip to Israel, and I’m still a little overwhelmed and unsure where to begin when someone asks me about the trip. However, I can break the experience into three basic areas: the “modern” city, the Biblical city, and the Temple Mount Sifting Project.
We spent two weeks living in the Old City, and during that time we saw many groups come and go in our hotel. How exciting to spend two weeks in one of the great cities of the world! We got to explore the uniqueness of the four quarters of the Old City: the Jewish Quarter, Christian Quarter, Armenian Quarter and Muslim Quarter. How wonderful it was to experience the beginning of Shabbat at the Western Wall in the Jewish Quarter, to walk through the narrow lanes of the Muslim quarter with its distinctive sights, to go to vespers at the Cathedral of St James in the Armenian Quarter, and to try to bargain in the shops of the Christian Quarter.
Each day we explored a different area of the city while our leader, Gordon Franz, gave us the background of the area and relevant Scriptures. Seeing the various areas and hearing the explanations has given me a new perspective on the Bible. My Sunday School class has begun the study of Acts, and I taught chapters 1 and 2 before leaving on this trip. Now I have so much more to add—I know the distance between the Mount of Olives and Jerusalem (Acts 1:12), and better understand the length of a Sabbath-day walk without having to look at the study notes. I may have stood on the steps where Peter addressed the crowd at Pentecost. Acts 3:1 states that Peter and John went up to the Temple; “up” is easily overlooked, but a very accurate description of the approach to the Temple. We also had two Saturday field trips. Our first trip included a stop in the Elah Valley, site of the battle between David and Goliath (1 Sm 17). I now have five stones taken from the stream bed where David took his sling stones. And we had a hilltop view of the area, and I could picture the Israelite and Philistine forces gathered for the conflict.
I counted it a great privilege to participate in the Temple Mount Sifting Project and help recover the history of the Temple Mount. Before le...
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